Asus M5A88-M EVO Motherboard Review
This is my review of the Asus M5A88-M EVO motherboard.
Once I'd decided on my case and CPU, I knew that I needed a Micro-ATX and AM3+ compatible motherboard. I have to admit I'm a little jealous of those full ATX motherboards, which seem just a little meatier and full of high quality parts, if you pay for them. I was a little sad to to find out I couldn't have one of those meaty motherboards which had drawn me in with an impressive (at least they sounded to me) list of feature, althoug quite expensive.
Anyway, once I knew I was limited to the Micro-ATX motherboard size, and what would seem limited feature motherboards, I simply ran a search on motherboards in the Micro-ATX size and looked for the most expensive, and still had nothing pushing over £100.
Still I think I've done alright picking the Asus M5A88-M EVO. It seems to be full of features, just like the bigger ATX boards, just perhaps not quite cutting edge some of the ATX boards sound. I have seen a blog mentioning that board manufacturers see the Micro-ATX as people looking for something cheaper. That's not true for myself, I was just looking for something smaller, something to keep the wife happy, and something which doesn't look out of place in a living room, so a standard desktop or tower case just won't do here. If they are holding back on the Micro-ATX boards, I think they should be putting all their best bits into the smaller boards too.
The board is a AMD 880G chipset. I wasn't too sure at first if this was compatible with the 8150 8 Core, but it has turned out to be fine in the end, following a little research.
Asus M5A88-M EVO Motherboard Appearance
The Asus M5A88-M EVO motherboard itself looks quite meaty and impressive. The board is a dark colour, and some of the components are coloured bright blue, so the board has an overall blue theme. The components are smartly colour coded and give quite a pleasing appearance. The design here speaks more than just functional design, the board is designed to be 'cool' in appearance, always an important and sometimes underlooked part of consumer technical devides.
Asus M5A88-M EVO Features
You can see a full spec on the ASUS website, but to give you an idea of the features which pulled me, we have:
SATA 3 6GB/s sockets
Built in Overclocking feature, inc TPU, ASUS TurboV and GPU Boost
Onboard Audio and Video with HDMI using an ATI Radeon HD 4250 GPU with CrossFire X support
4 PCI expansion slots
Having the video onboard, as I don't play any games meant I could some initial cash on a video card. Everything works fine and fast for watching videos, browsing the internet. It's been a while since I played any PC games, and if the time comes again when I may play some, I'll buy a video card at that point, or if I need to when I want 2 monitor displays, so cash saved and less noise as no video card fan.
Installing components in the Asus M5A88-M EVO motherboard
Installing the components wa easy and straight forward, everything felt firm. I watching a few YouTube videos, and followed the Asus M5A88-M EVO motherboard manual's instructions. I may have re-read some sections several times as this was my first build, but everything went generally smoothly. If I had to do it again, I'm sure I'll be alot quicker next time, once you know what to do, there isn't too much to do in a basic build.
Overall I'm very happy with the board, not only has it got a good appearance I'd be happy to show, (if my box had a glass window that is!), it seems to be full of features and has enougn onboard connections, sockets, etc to have a decent build. Only negative would be the back plate feels a little flimsy, it had prongs sticking out which I didn't know what to do with, so I ended up twisting them about, until eventually the motherboard would fit into it. Apart from that, everything is running fine so far, and there's plenty of room for expansion. Very happy.